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Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 10:46:59 AM
by choo woon lim
During Merdeka, we always hear phrases like “Proud to be Malaysian.”
But what are we proud of and what makes us truly Malaysian? Our food, culture and language is often cited. Roti canai is quintessentially Malaysian and so is the suffix lah.
As our country celebrates its 57th year of independence from the British, the MOB team looks at some of the things people say makes them proud to call themselves Anak Malaysia.
“Malaysia has a lot of delicious food. My favourite is roti canai.”- TayWan Jin
When the general greeting among locals is sudah makan? (have you eaten?) and people travelfor hours
just to get good food, you know you’re in the right place. Malaysia’s melting pot of cultures, with mainly Malay, Chinese and Indian influences in its cuisine, has earned us a place among food aficionados. From asam laksa, roti canai to nasi lemak and char kuey teow, when it comes to food, all arguments are forgotten.
“I love learning new words from other languages. We get to know one another’s culture and history,”-
Pang, 19, speaks Malay, English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien. Don’t be surprised to hear a Malay
speaking Mandarin fluently, or vice versa.Malaysians are usually bilingual or trilingual, making us a favourite among employers.
Choo Weng Wei likes the quirkyway we add lah to ou rsentences.
“It gives what you’re saying an extra oomph,” said Choo, 20. He added that it was special how he could use three different languages in the same sentence and still be understood by friends.
3. Religious diversity
“I get to celebrate and experience different festivals, and dress up in the traditional attire of the different races. It also means more holidays!”- Amelia John Selvarani
Visitors to Malaysia have commented on ourreligious diversity, where people of different faiths live together in harmony. Malaysia is a country where a church, mosque and temple can be located within the same neighbourhood.
Growing up in this environment, most Malaysians are mindful of our conductso as not to offend friends of different faiths. For example, during the fasting month, some would avoid eating and drinking in front of Muslim friends; while most would know not to serve beef to Hindus.
These sensitivities to others’ religious beliefs help foster a sense of tolerance and respect.
4. Our blend of history and modernity
Malaysia’s buildings are a balance of both old and new. Kuala Lumpur, for example, is known for the iconic Petronas Twin Towers - a symbol of modern Malaysia. Despite that, KL’s streets remain peppered with well-preserved pre-war buildings, making it a unique attraction for visitors.
Putrajaya’s administrative capital is a good example of modern, state-of-theart designs incorporating Western and Islamic influences, while in places such as Malacca, the architecture blends centuries of Portuguese, Dutch and British rule with local elements.
5.Our rich heritage
History is not only something we learn from textbooks, it can be seen in many aspects of our daily lives.Malaysia is home to two Unesco World Heritage Cities; namely George Town in Penang and Malacca.
Overthe years,we have integrated one another’s culture to form new ones. Cultures such as the Peranakan or Straits Chinese are unique to this region, as are practices like the ‘open house’.
6. Our friendly people
“If you go to smalltowns and rural areas, you can really see how ordinary Malaysians live and experience their hospitality.”- ChowYin Hon
Malaysia is one ofthe few places where even strangers are addressed with a warm ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’ or ‘kak’ and ‘makcik’. Most Malaysians are quick to smile and always eager to help, from the noodle seller to the taxi driver.
Chow said this was part of the reason he has cycled not once, but twice around peninsular Malaysia.
The 35-year-old video producer is currently cycling around the peninsular again to raise funds for charity.
7. Our peace and stability
“I feel thankful and blessed to be living here as it is safe and free from natural disasters.”- Yong Wei Hoong
While people in other parts of the world live in uncertainty of natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, Malaysia has long been shielded from catastrophes and conflicts.
This stability makes it an attractive place for investment, tourism and as a study destination.
8. Beautiful destinations
“I’m proud to be Malaysian because we have beautiful places and attractions.”- Ramlah Ahmad.
From nature to historical sites and shopping outlets, our country has it all. In Sabah and Sarawak, there are pristine islands such as Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Gaya, while Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in South-East Asia is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s also no secret that Malaysians are shopping-obsessed: reflected from the dozens of shopping malls (and counting!) in the Klang Valley.
9. Our achievements
“Few things can unite people like sports. When players come together, they put aside differences like race or beliefs.”- Michael Lee, owner of Michael’s Badminton Academy.
Malaysia is full oftalents in various fields, from the acting chops of Datuk Michelle Yeoh to the squash prowess of Datuk Nicol Ann David.
10. International events
Malaysia has seen an increasing number of international events being staged here such as the Formula 1 in Sepang and the Redbull Air Race in Putrajaya.
Events such as the George Town Festival in Penang have done much to promote the arts in Malaysia to tourists while Floria Putrajaya has attracted millions ofvisitors.
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